Intel announces Ivy Bridge chips for high-end laptops and desktops

Intel announces Ivy Bridge chips for high-end laptops and desktops

Summary: Intel finally made Ivy Bridge official today. The announcement of the first 3rd Generation Core processors was widely expected--Intel first began talking about Ivy Bridge about a year ago.

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Intel finally made Ivy Bridge official today. The announcement of the first 3rd Generation Core processors was widely expected--Intel first began talking about Ivy Bridge about a year ago. Nevertheless Ivy Bridge is big news both as a product, paving the way for faster and thinner PCs, and as a technological feat.

The first batch of Ivy Bridge processors consists of 14 quad-core chips, mostly designed for desktops, though there are five high-end mobile processors too. These are primarily designed for workstations and high-end consumer PCs used for 3D gaming and content creation. The less expensive dual-core chips used in most laptops including Ultrabooks won't show up until perhaps late May or early June.

Intel claims there are more than 270 desktop designs and more than 300 mobile products in development. In particular, the company seems to be emphasizing upcoming all-in-one designs. There are 65 new all-in-one sin the works including some models with displays that can lie flat enabling new applications such as multi-player gaming.

In comparison to the current Sandy Bridge processors, Intel said that Ivy Bridge will deliver 20 percent better performance at lower power. But the biggest improvements appear to be in the graphics and media processing. The HD2500/HD4000 graphics has up to 16 execution units (compared with 12 in Sandy Bridge); supports DirectX 11 and the latest versions of OpenCL and OpenGL; can drive three independent displays simultaneously; and has Quick Sync Video 2.0 for faster video transcoding. The increase in graphics performance exceeded Intel's original goal and the company is claiming a 2x improvement over Sandy Bridge on its tests.

Aside from better performance, Ivy Bridge has several other connectivity and security features that are likely to make it an attractive upgrade. The 3rd Generation Core processors and 7 Series (Panther Point) chipset, which was already announced, support USB 3.0 for faster file transfers, PCI Express 3.0 for workstations and gaming PCs that use discrete graphics, and Thunderbolt. Intel said there are 21 Thunderbolt devices on the market now growing to more than a 100 by the end of the year and "hundreds" next year. New security features include Intel OS Guard, which prevents malware attacks on Windows 8 and some Linux distributions; Secure Key, a random number generation for more secure online transactions; and Anti-theft Technology that can remotely lock down a stolen or lost laptop. Future Ultrabooks using this platform will also have caching technology for faster boot times and connected standby--compelling features that Intel has been promising for some time.

Ivy Bridge is a significant product announcement, but it also a technological milestone. It is the first processor with features as small as 22nm. Some memory companies are now making NAND flash chips with features as small as 20nm, but no one is making logic chips at this node (rival AMD's processors are manufacture by GlobalFoundries using a 32nm technology). The quad-core processor has a total of 1.4 billion transistors on a die that measures 160 square millimeters. To put that in perspective, this chip has 20 percent more transistors that a Sandy Bridge quad-core but measures only three-quarters the size.

In addition, Ivy Bridge is also the first mainstream chip of any kind to use a new three-dimensional transistor, which Intel refers to as a tri-gate, though it is very similar to what the industry calls a FinFET. Nearly all other chips use planar transistors. The tri-gate transistor enables Intel to make the transistors smaller and denser, and increase the performance, while maintaining control of power. Currently the rest of the industry does not plan to shift from planar to FinFETs until the 14nm node, which is still years away, though lately there have been rumors it could happen sooner.

In the meantime, Intel is in the middle of what it claims is its fastest product ramp ever. The company has already built three factories to manufacture 22nm chips and a fourth will start production later this year. In the first two quarters of production, it has manufactured 50 percent more chips than during the same period in the Sandy Bridge ramp.

The 3rd Generation Core processors will compete with AMD's A Series APUs (Application Processing Units). Current AMD systems are using the Llano family of APUs, but AMD said on its earnings call last week that it had already begun shipping next-generation Trinity APUs to customers. Trinity uses the same manufacturing technology--GlobalFoundries' 32nm process--but it has a new core and will have double the performance per watt, according to company officials.

Neither Ivy Bridge nor Trinity is likely to alter the competitive landscape. Intel will maintain a sizable lead in CPU performance, and it chips will command price premium, though dual-cores should push Ultrabooks prices down to as low as $699 by the end of this year. AMD's APUs have the edge in graphics but the company will continue to compete on price in mainstream laptops and more affordable "ultrathins." The only question is to what extent Intel has managed to narrow the gap on graphics performance with both AMD and Nvidia. The first reviews are already starting to appear so we should have a better idea on this very soon.

Topics: Hardware, Intel, Networking, Processors

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12 comments
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  • When will vendors start producing systems with these chips?

    Just curious...

    When will the CPU's and Chipsets actually be released and what is the timetable for OEM's to start promoting and producing systems with them, especially for the Desktop?

    TIA :)
    Compumind
  • "65 new all-in-one sin"

    Freud strikes again!
    .
    rmhesche
    • Not applicable when the slip is not from the original designer or original

      speaker/thinker.

      If the slip had come from the people at Intel, then you might have something there. But, the slip is more of a typo from the people at ZDNet, who are not the people who built the chips.
      adornoe
      • Maybe you should try rereading what Freud wrote

        ... especially regarding what he thought lay behind the so-called "Freudian slip".
        It most certainly IS applicable.
        .DeusExMachina.
      • Deus: It's still not applicable in the case above,

        and you're the one that needs to check the meaning of it, and the original context that Freud wrote about.

        Freud himself never referred to the subconscious slips as "Freudian", btw.

        But, a subconscious slip can never be made by someone that is not the originator of a thought, or an event. The case above cannot ever be a "Freudian slip", because, it was not made by Intel or anyone related to the subject.
        adornoe
      • Duh

        And did you bother to note that I put the term in quotes? No kidding Freud never used the term. But that is relevant, how, exactly?
        As to the rest of your irrational argument, if you had bothered to think for just one second, before deciding to post your silly, pointless retort, it might have been clear to you that the OP was not referring to Intel, but to the blog author, who is QUITE capable of evincing certain psychological bents as a result of mistakes made while typing.

        Duh.

        At NO point did the OP EVER claim that they were talking about the slip coming from Intel.
        But perhaps you were so blinded by the froth spewing forth from your mouth at the chance to troll that you missed that simple fact.
        .DeusExMachina.
      • Deux: You're still not looking at where or who the slip came from,

        and, my argument still stands.

        The DUH!, is on your side. The logic of the argument is not on your side. You are still not looking at the source, which in this case, was the author of the blog. In order for the "slip" to be a Freudian slip, the people at Intel would have to be making the original statement that contained the slip; not the author of the article.

        My argument still stands, and you're the one with the thick-head who can't follow the argument.

        BTW, that "logic class" you took in college is failing you, or is it the other way around? Arguing just to be argumentative or a contrarian, is not logical. ;)
        adornoe
      • Wrong

        @ adornoe
        BY DEFINITION, the person making the slip does so because of some subconscious motivation. The OP's point is that the author suffers from sum subconscious bias that allowed this mistake to surface.
        Intel plays NO part in this. Duh.
        .DeusExMachina.
      • Deus: Nope! Sorry! That's still not the way a "Freudian slip" works,

        and though you'd like for it to be as you define, it's not how most people understand it.

        The op nor the author can be charged with a Freudian slip in the case above. The people with the original thought or original slip of the tongue, would have to be someone at Intel in order for the slip to be "meaningful".

        If a person is being accused of a crime, and someone else who is not the criminal utters something which "seems" like a slip of the tongue involving the case, it's not a Freudian slip if one is looking at the case and the accused criminal. It might be a Freudian slip concerning a part of the life of the person not related to the criminal, but, it's not about the original crime or accused criminal.

        If you need some real lessons in logic, don't hesitate to let me know. I'll be glad to assist. Your prior lessons in college didn't serve you at all.
        adornoe
        • And again, you don't have ANY idea what the term means.

          Nor do you have any facility in logic whatsoever. And, as stated previously, I not only took logic in college, I taught it.
          Your grasp on even simply logical concepts makes it cleat you are in no position to teach anyone.
          .DeusExMachina.
        • And again, you don't have ANY idea what the term means.

          Nor do you have any facility in logic whatsoever. And, as stated previously, I not only took logic in college, I taught it.
          Your grasp on even simply logical concepts makes it cleat you are in no position to teach anyone.
          .DeusExMachina.
  • Better graphics!!

    Well seems like the cross licensing deal with Nvidia is finally paying off. Intel "apu"s with better graphics is most welcome. Can't help wondering how the S-o-Cs from Nvidia are gonna perform considering the cross licensing of Intel's cpu/chipset technologies. All in all looks like tough times ahead for AMD.
    el_tirador